Posts Tagged ‘Sabbath’

Be Loosed 8-25-19

In this sermon, based on Luke 13:10-17, I explore a story of Jesus healing a woman on the Sabbath day, and the realization that God’s desire is that we are unhindered to live a life of fullness.

You can listen to the audio of the sermon here:
https://soundcloud.com/revdalen/be-loosed-8-25-19

You can also follow along with the text of the sermon here:

May the grace and peace of our Triune God be yours, now and forever. Amen

The human body is a pretty amazing thing. Just how everything works. We have all these different systems within us, all interacting with one another enabling life as we know it. Modern medicine has explained a lot of how our bodies work, but not entirely. But regardless, if we think about it…it makes sense that following the creation of humanity, God sat back and called it very good.

However, as we all come to realize with the realities of aging, eventually, our bodies wear down. For some it happens sooner, for others later…but its inevitable.  I never wanted to admit this about myself…and admittedly, I’ve taken steps to avoid it. I started to see signs of it in my late 20’s…but then through exercise and paying a little better attention to what I eat…my general health and fitness improved and I’ve probably been in better shape through my late 30’s then I was a decade ago.

But not entirely either.  As I continue getting a little older…I’m noticing some differences…and I’ve had some lingering injuries as well. Most of you sitting out there know that I have a bum ankle…one that has thrown me for a loop quite a few times in my life…and most notably…at our 1st annual block party a few years back when I made the mistake of playing basketball in sandals.

Following that injury which many of you witnessed…I found myself sitting in the doctor’s office for x-rays…and while nothing was broken, he did give me some pretty blunt feedback. “You’re 35 now…you gotta knock that stuff off.” And he’s reminded me of the same thing each year since when I’ve gone in for checkups.

But ankle injuries aside, I have been pretty blessed up to this point. And as I think back, there are only two times that I can recall where my body failed me…and they were both self-inflicted. Most of you have heard the story of when I tried to swim out to a buoy and ran out of gas…nearly drowning. And the other time was my most recent attempt to climb a mountain in CO several years back…when I ran out of gas coming back down the mountain and spent hours just trudging along, feeling like death warmed over. It was not a feeling that I enjoyed…to have my body fail…and yet, in life, it is inevitable. (pause)
But as I mentioned a moment ago, for some, it happens much sooner than we normally expect…there’s no rhyme or reason to it…unfortunately sometimes it just happens…and there are wide variety of causes. Sometimes it can be an accident…other times an illness…still others are sideswiped by genetics and are born that way. None of these things are good…but they are a reality that countless people deal with…sometimes for a short amount of time…others for years or even for their entire lives. (pause)
That’s the case in today’s gospel story…as Jesus encounters a woman with a pretty drastic physical ailment that has quite literally hindered her for nearly 2 decades…Just what exactly is happening we don’t quite know.  We hear that she has a spirit of infirmity, crippling her…we hear Jesus say that Satan has bound her…so it seems that there’s something of the demonic going on here…but regardless, it affects her physically…keeping her hunched over…unable to stand up straight…and so for years, she has been shunted to the side…unable to look anyone in the face…unable to view the world beyond the ground, as her body is physically unable to straighten itself out.

That in itself must have been bad enough…but imagine what this must have done for the woman from a social standpoint. With the physical inability to look anyone in the face, how hard must it have been for her to engage in relationship with those that she encounters? Her stricken appearance a constant reminder of her problem…and keep in mind the common thought at the time that a situation like this was the punishment for sin…and so for her to experience such a dramatic problem, she would have likely been considered ultra sinful…and people would keep their distance…avoiding her whenever possible…and even in the setting today…she is one in the crowd at the synagogue…think logistically for a moment…she’s bent over within a crowd of people standing…she would be invisible… (pause)
And yet…Jesus sees her….and not only does he see her…but he engages her…he acknowledges her and calls her over…and then Jesus goes a pretty amazing step beyond that…by telling her she is set free…and he lays hands upon her and she is healed. (pause)
Now this is all amazing right? But if we think about it…its pretty par for the course…Many times Jesus sees a need such as this and does something about it…but the controversy this time…is because of timing…and as we hear…the leader of the synagogue…the one in charge…the expert…he starts squawking.

There are 6 days to work…come for healing on those days…not on the Sabbath…I kind of chuckle at this, as the leader addresses the crowd…being pretty passive aggressive at his actual target of Jesus…This man heals on the Sabbath…he’s working on the Sabbath…He’s breaking the rules.

Because…of course…the 10 commandments tell us to honor the Sabbath day and keep it holy…to do no work on the Sabbath because even God rested on that day…but think about it…what did Jesus really do?  He told her she was free…and talking is not work…and then he laid hands upon her…another thing that was not considered work…seems to me that the leader is being pretty nitpicky here…and we see exactly that when Jesus strikes back at his hypocritical attitude. Because in the expanded law of Moses…there are loopholes.  Does not each of you untie your ox or donkey and lead him to water on the Sabbath? (pause)
That’s okay…you can untie an animal and take it to water…although you aren’t allowed to bring water to the animal.  It would seem that to unbind the animal in order for it to have what’s needed for life is okay though…and I suppose that’s a pretty good loophole isn’t it? A good way to sidestep the notion of “no work on Sabbath.” (pause)
Now this is not to say that Jesus needs loopholes, because he doesn’t…But rather, what Jesus is doing here is pointing out the very same instance, just on a very different scale. It is acceptable…even honorable, to allow your beasts of burden water on the Sabbath…you could even say that the simple act of unbinding them is life giving…and likewise…Jesus is unbinding this woman from that which hinders her life. He sets her free from that which oppressed her…which separated her…and why? Well, because she is a daughter of Abraham. (pause)
Now when Jesus calls her this…it’s a big deal. Keep in mind, for the Jewish people, being connected to Abraham…being one of his descendants is vital to their identity. It brings them into the community…and for a culture as utterly structured as the Jewish people at the time…this inclusion is utterly important.

So for Jesus to call this woman Daughter of Abraham…he might as well be calling her a child of heaven…or to use a term that we might find familiar, beloved child of God…Jesus, God in the flesh sees this woman who might as well been invisible, sets her loose from what physically binds her…and claims her as a beloved child. (pause)

Sound familiar? Sorta seems like baptism to me doesn’t it? When God looks upon us as an individual, broken as we are…and sets us free from the power of sin simply because God looks upon us as a beloved child… Now most often when something this happens for us, it happens in the setting of worship…so much so that its pretty much an expectation…but if we come back around to expectation that Jesus was breaking that day…it all boils down to who is working on the Sabbath…and if the rules are broken…and the notion that there is some “RIGHT WAY” that we do Sabbath. But Jesus has faced this sort of thing before…and he will face it again…and each and every time, he reminds those detractors…as well as each of us…that he is the Lord of the Sabbath…in short…that he is the Lord…ironic that He’s even called the Lord here in today’s passage…as he strikes out at the hypocrites…it could even be the voice of God booming out in opposition to this misunderstanding of what can and should be happening on the Sabbath day as these people have gathered for worship. (pause)

Now I have to say…I like this story a lot…because the woman is a physical representation of each of us. She comes to worship, broken…and so do we. Each and every one of us here…all of us…NO EXCEPTIONS…We are all broken people and we come before the Lord…and just as Jesus sees the woman…God sees you…and calls to you…and sets you free from what binds you because you have been claimed as God’s child. (pause)

Now if you’ve been around lately, you know that I missed a couple weeks, one of which because I was off with my family on our annual pilgrimage to the mountains for family camp. And over the course of the week, we shared communion several times…the first of which, we shared in the Brief Order of Confession and Forgiveness, just like we do every week here in worship…you know the part…when I invite you to turn to page 56…and together we confess that we are bound…unable to set ourselves loose…but then at the end, I stand before, just as I already have this morning…and I share these words, just as I share them again now…as a called and ordained minister of the Christ and by HIS authority, I therefore declare unto you the entire forgiveness of ALL of your sins. (pause)

One of the things I love about being at camp…is that I get to hear that proclaimed to me…and boy it struck me hard…because as a solo pastor I proclaim it but I don’t actually hear it that much….and I don’t say to be whiny, but rather because in that moment, of hearing someone proclaim to me, the forgiveness of the sin that binds me…I felt free…and I realized just how big of deal we participate in each and every week here in worship.

Here on the Sabbath…God frees us from that which binds us…and if its not enough to hear about…God has also blessed us with a physical reminder…one that we share every other week here in worship…a holy meal in which we are reminded that his body is broken and his blood is shed for you…for the forgiveness of your sin…not because you have earned it…not because you are worthy of it…but because God loves you and has chosen to do this for you. (pause)

We hear at the end of today’s passage, that his opponents are put to shame…and may we remember that whenever we stand in the way of what God is up to…whether intentionally or not…God’s grace is simple yet universal…and if we think that God’s grace can be hindered in anyway, well then Christ died for nothing…and its not grace…

It doesn’t matter what we look like, or sound like…it doesn’t matter where we come from…or if we follow the rules or not…God’s grace is offered to broken people…period. No conditions…no expectations…no exceptions.

God’s grace is offered…freely…and knowing that…perhaps we need to join the crowd in rejoicing at the wonderful thing that Jesus is doing…Freeing each of us…setting us loose from what binds us…You are a child of God…seen, named, and claimed. And I announce to you today that because of what Christ has done…you can be loosed to live the life of freedom that God has intended. Amen.

One Day At A Time 6-3-18

In this sermon, based on Mark 2:23-3:6, I explore Jesus actions/intentions on the Sabbath. They reveal the desire of God that every individual experience a life of fullness.

You can listen to the audio of the sermon here:
https://soundcloud.com/revdalen/one-day-at-a-time-6-3-18

You can also follow along with the text of the sermon here:

Grace and peace to you in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen

Earlier this week I had the opportunity to visit with an individual who holds the distinction of being our oldest living member here at Underwood…Elsie Ehrens who just reached the milestone of 100 a couple of weeks ago.

Now as we were visiting, Elsie gave me a gift…a small decorative pillow with a simple phrase…One Day At A Time. (pause) This phrase points at a connection that Elsie and I have shared since shortly after I became the pastor here 5 years ago. At that point, Elsie was still able to get to worship pretty regularly, and as we got to know one another we found a phrase that we exchanged in the receiving line following worship. One more day…an idea that builds off that other phrase “one day at a time,” because Elsie knew at her age, even 5 years back, that every day was a gift, and all we can do is live out the one that we’ve been given.

Now thinking about this makes me consider the different connections I’ve established with different people…those little traditions that form over time. Maybe it’s a joke…or a shared story, or a routine…we all have them…those little things that simply become the norm…the excepted way that things happen…but perhaps none are more fitting today than that phrase that Elsie clings to. One day at a time.

I can’t help but think that it reveals a sense of longevity when we consider the sentiment behind it…and this is quite fitting as we think about the grand scope of time.  Now, I mentioned that we’re at the 5 year mark since I joined our community here at Underwood…and sometimes 5 years feels like a long time.

But in reality, that’s a pretty short period, especially if we consider the 91 year history of our congregation…or if we go one step farther and think about the 500 year history of Lutherans dating back to the start of the Reformation…or to go clear back to the beginning of the church itself at the death and resurrection of Jesus almost 2000 years ago…or even one step beyond that as we remember that Christianity itself is an off shoot of Judaism and has connections all the way back to the Exodus from Egypt roughly 3300 years ago.

Just think of the multitude of traditions, of rituals, or connections or rules, or regulations that have come about throughout this vast history, throughout countless cultures and groups, of churches and denominations…certain ways that things are done or not done…guidelines for what’s acceptable or not…for what’s right and wrong.

Now these different traditions or rules have taken on many forms over the centuries…and perhaps none more deeply than the 10 Commandments, a gift handed down by God to the Israelites so early on in their cultural history…a listing of ways to live in harmony with God and with one another….dating all the way back to Moses and the story of God delivering the people out of slavery in Egypt….Commandments which include honoring the Sabbath day…and keeping it holy…and you know what, the idea of the Sabbath actually goes back even farther …in fact its present right there in the story of creation as we hear that God rested from the work on the 7th day and made it holy…Genesis 1.  We could argue that resting on the Sabbath might just be the first ritual that we are given in the scriptures.

And throughout all that history…just think of the various ways that have developed to help direct individuals or communities or cultures on how to do that…ways that, quite likely, are not intended to be a “how-to” list…or a regulation…but in fact could considered a gift.

I can’t help but think that’s what the establishment of the Commandment about the Sabbath was really all about when God handed it down to Moses for the people. Keep in mind that they had just endured 400 years of slavery…they were a culture that began their very existence in bondage…as slaves…as people who had no choice but to labor day in and day out…and now as God has freed them…we see that God is demonstrating that domination and bondage and slavery is not okay…and God gives the gift of the Sabbath so that they might be reminded of what they’ve been freed from…the Sabbath, while dating back to the beginning…was certainly something new for this culture who had not known the freedom to rest within their own lifetimes.

This gift…this invitation into something new…That’s an idea that we continue to find throughout the course of the scriptures. Story after story…event after event…character after character and culture after culture…God continues to invite them into something new…

And we must remember that these new realities that God extends…they can be, and often were, utterly mind-blowing for the individuals or communities that experienced them in the moment. We have the benefit of hindsight as we look back through history…as we see those things which for us today are the norm…but in the moment they were utterly new.

And sometimes…sometimes, these new realities, these new invitations that God extended, would butt up against the traditions or the expectations…it would butt up against what was expected or thought to be the right way of doing things…and this is precisely what we find Jesus butting up against in these two short stories from today’s gospel. Moments when either he or those he is responsible for go against the “rules” of how to observe the Sabbath.

Now this in itself is open to debate…both in present day Judaism, and even back in the 1st century when this happened.  Are the disciples “working” when they grab the heads of grain as they walk past…essentially just grabbing a snack as they go?  Or is Jesus performing “work” when his power results in healing the man with the withered hand?

I think we would say no today…and some would argue that the various rules and regulations in the Jewish law at the time would have even allowed these things to happen…so what’s really going on here? Especially in the case of Jesus healing the man in the synagogue?

Is he breaking tradition? Is he breaking the law…are his actions and views contrary to what God intended with the commandment to honor the Sabbath? (pause) Is Jesus threatening the establishment, the powers that be…those who seemingly have the authority as he does something contrary to what has been established as “the right way?”

It would seem that this could be the case, especially as we think about the back and forth between Jesus and the Pharisees…Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the Sabbath…to save life or to kill? This is the question that Jesus poses. (pause) Now the Pharisees have no answer to this question…but Jesus has a reaction…and as we hear, he looks around at them with anger…grieved at their hardness of heart.

Now admittedly, that little snippet really catches my attention…that Jesus looks with anger at those present who seem to take issue with this healing…the ones who take offense with Jesus freeing this man from the deformity that hinders his existence. Jesus is…mad.

That’s not something we hear about very often is it? Jesus being angry…in fact I can only think of 2 instances…one is the cleansing of the temple when he chases out the money changers and the livestock…and the other is oddball little instance when he curses a fig tree for not producing fruit out of season…and interestingly enough, in those other stories, we never actually hear Jesus described as being “angry.” Believe it or not…the only other time that this word shows up in the original language of the gospels is when John the Baptist warns the people to flee from the wrath…the anger…of God.

Think about that…Jesus’ reaction to the old idea that nothing must be done on the Sabbath, even to the detriment of the person, this merits the same reaction that we hear in terms of John’s very fire-and-brimestone address. John calls them to repent…to turn away from flawed path and back to the good that God has intended…and it would seem that Jesus desires the very same thing.

Now remember. John’s story is another example of God’s invitation into something new…away from that which has been “established.” And here Jesus is revealing something similar…that we cannot allow ourselves to be blinded by “the rules” at the expense of giving a fuller life to another.

We see this as we consider who everyone is focused on in this story…While everyone is focused on Jesus and the apparent “law-breaking” he’s doing…Jesus, God in the flesh…he is focused on granting life to the man.  Of freeing him from that which has left him hindered…that which in some way has robbed him of the freedom of life as intended by God. (pause) Why did God give the gift of the Sabbath in the first place? To remind them that bondage…that limitation…that slavery is not what we are intended for, but that we are intended for a life of fullness and freedom. (pause)

Now I don’t think that Jesus is trying to supersede the importance of the Sabbath…but rather through this action I believe that God is inviting us into a new way of considering it…a new way of viewing it…an invitation that is life-giving instead of a batch of rules that dictate what we can or can’t do.

This is the ongoing work of God in our reality…always inviting us forward…but if today’s lesson teaches us anything, it’s the realization that this invitation is not always easy. That what the Holy Spirit is empowering in our midst might just go against the grain…it might just seem to butt heads with “the way we’ve always done it.” But this is the action of God…always inviting us forward into something new…and I believe that this will continue to be the case until that day when Jesus comes again…but until that day, may we all, as individuals and as a community, seek out the will of God through the presence of the Holy Spirit within us…the Spirit which continues to reveal the love of God for each of us that was made real through the life and the death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

And may we remember that throughout history…God has continued to invite all of humanity forward as we each live out our lives according to the advice that Elsie has embodied over the course of 100 years.  One day at a time. Amen.

Quit Working So Hard 7-17-16

In this sermon, based on Luke 10:38-42, I explore Jesus’ encounter with Mary and Martha, two sisters who represent both sides of the coin in our lives of faith.

You can listen to the audio of the sermon here:
https://soundcloud.com/revdalen/quit-working-so-hard-7-17-16

You can also follow along with the text of the sermon here:

Grace and peace to you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

We moved from the Okoboji area up to the Twin Cities during the last couple of days of 2010…and so by the time of the Super Bowl in 2011, we’d only been living there for a month or so. For the most part, we didn’t know a whole lot of people up that way yet…with about our only built in community consisting of a couple of my wife’s cousins…and my uncle and his three kids.

As it turned out, my uncle invited us over to his house to watch the big game…and since we didn’t have any other plans, that’s what we figured on and so…on game day, late afternoon, we headed on over…now just a touch of back story…my uncle had recently been widowed, so hosting duties fell squarely on his shoulders that day…and let me tell you…he did not disappoint.

We walked in to find a spread of all sorts of different game time food including a bunch of different appetizers as well as some pretty darn good chili…not to mention the house was spotless…he had been busy.

But I still remember when we sat down, just in time for kickoff, my uncle let out a big old sigh and said “Wow…all this cooking and cleaning to get ready by myself…it’s a lot of work.” And I’m sure it was…it reminds me of the gradual change that we’ve undergone in recent years when we find ourselves preparing for guests coming over…particularly when the guests are family.

Gone are the days of making sure that the house is utterly spotless…because when we stop and think about it…all those extra people are going to get it messy…and then you promptly have to pick it all up again…and because of this, my wife and I have adopted a slightly different approach…bathroom and floors…namely we do clean the bathrooms and we run a broom across the floor…but that’s it…the major cleaning will happen after everyone else is gone.

Now I bring this up, because our gospel story features the same sort of deal…just like my uncle going all out to prepare for his role as host…with all sorts of food and a spotless house…just for us to sit and watch a football game mind you…today we hear that Jesus enters a village and is welcomed into the home of Martha…who turns into a major busy-body…all while her sister takes a load off, sitting at Jesus feet as he talks.

I can only imagine that Martha takes the same sort of approach…strapping on her apron and cooking up a storm…grabbing a broom…dusting spray, window cleaner…toilet bowl cleaner…washing the rugs, pulling out new bedding in the guest room…etc…etc…etc.

Okay, so maybe I went overboard there…but as we hear in the story…I’m not the only one…because Martha quite literally, goes overboard as well…and even though we don’t know exactly what’s she’s doing…we know she’s busy…so busy in fact that she was worried and stressed and completely absorbed in so many different things all at once, that she likely wasn’t accomplishing any of them overly well.

But you know what…I don’t really blame her…because she was in the mode of making sure absolutely everything got done that was expected…even if it was really needed. (pause) I think a lot of us have that tendency don’t we…the tendency to go overboard, trying to check everything off the list so that we can finally sit down and relax…all the while our guests…probably would rather that we just sit down and relax in the first place.

But that’s not what happens is it? (pause) Jesus has entered the house and is sitting there engaging with whoever else is there…and Martha keeps jumping from task to task…all the while getting more and more irritated because someone else is there who isn’t doing what’s expected of them…Mary…get off your keister and come help me.
But Mary ignores her…instead paying attention to the Lord…listening to his words…and Martha gets more and more irritated…and I don’t blame her…been there done that…who among us hasn’t had a time when they were doing task after task, and someone else just sits there…refusing to pitch in and do their share…doesn’t that drive you nuts when that happens? Doesn’t matter who it is…a coworker…a buddy…your kids…your spouse…they sit there, either intentionally ignoring you…or possibly just oblivious to the fact that you could use a hand.

No wonder Martha eventually got angry enough that she snarked off at Jesus…LORD…DON’T YOU CARE THAT MY SISTER HAS LEFT ME TO DO ALL THE WORK…TELL HER TO HELP ME!!!! (pause)
Now I have to admit…Jesus reaction in this story…it catches me just a little off guard…but maybe it shouldn’t…because he’s calling it like it is…Martha…Martha…you are worried and distracted by many things…there is need for only one…Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her. (pause)

The reaction of Jesus gives me pause…mainly because of what we have just hear from him. Directly before this passage, Jesus shares the parable of the Good Samaritan…offering the lesson that as followers of Christ…we are called to be servants…to meet the needs of those that we encounter…Jesus himself tells us that he has come among us as a servant and instructed us to do likewise….so when Martha is so passionately trying to meet the needs of her guests…why is it that Jesus gives her this gentle rebuke? (pause)
All too often when we hear this passage…I fear that it’s a common reaction that we demonize Martha…that we paint her with a portrait of the tyrant older sister…the strict one who cares more about appearances and rules and expectations than she does about anything else…and at the same time, we think of Mary as having it all together…being the image of the perfect Christ follower…and when we do that…we are doing a disservice to Martha.

In truth, I think that Mary and Martha represent two sides of the same coin…how do we respond to the Lord…or perhaps a way for us to think about it today, is how do we respond to one who brings the good news…because isn’t that what Jesus must have been sharing as he sat there in Martha’s house? Isn’t that what Mary must have been listening to? (pause)
Now think back to some of the different gospel texts we’ve heard recently…the Good Samaritan and serving our neighbors that I’ve already mentioned…and the mission of the 70, when Jesus sends his followers out to proclaim the good news…and doing so at the mercy of others…utterly dependent upon the hospitality of those that they are proclaiming the good news to.

And so we realize that at times, we are called to serve…and at other times we’re called to listen to the voice of the Lord…both are needed…both are important…and I really realized this as I worked with the original language of this text…and we hear that Martha was so worried and distracted by her many tasks…but the word for that is the same word that we apply to the notion of service or ministry…Martha was distracted by her many ministries…and Jesus tells her…you are doing many things…only one is needed.

Now at first, when I thought about that…picturing Martha cooking a 5 course meal while trying to sweep and dust and wash windows all at the same time…it occurred to me that all Jesus probably needed was for her to pick up a spare cloak off the chair so he could sit down…and maybe she could make him a sandwich…and then come sit down too so they could actually share the time together….but she was so wrapped up in her many acts of service…her many ministries that she wasn’t actually accomplishing any of them…and she was ignoring the voice of the one who simply desired to spend time with her.

I wonder if we do the same…if we get so wrapped up in so many different things that we aren’t doing any of them well…and I wonder if this is the case in the church…we do a lot here at Underwood…and there are a lot of other churches that do a lot as well…and the greater church…we have so many ministries going on at any given time, I wonder if we are actually accomplishing that which is needed…which is often quite simple…Preach the gospel, share the sacraments, and announce the forgiveness of sins…that’s what the church is called to do…and in the mean time, we’re called to sit at the feet of our Lord…time well spent…time that shapes us…that helps us grow…a time that we could call Sabbath.

Now just what this looks like is different from person to person, and even from time to time…There is no rule book for Sabbath…God just tells us to keep it Holy…to realize that Sabbath is a way and a time that we encounter the Lord…perhaps its time spent in the word…or maybe its time we spend gathered in community here in worship…or maybe its time spent praying…or maybe, just maybe, its like when you’re sitting around with your buddied with no agenda…and someone says “What do you want to do?” And someone else says “I dunno…what do you want to do?” And so you just sit there drinking coffee and having a conversation about nothing…and then at some point you realize that this is some of the most relaxing wonderful time that you’ve ever spent together. (pause)

I think that’s the point that Jesus is trying to make today…when he gently calls Martha’s name twice…because maybe the first time she didn’t hear him…and he needed to call her again….Martha…calm down…you don’t have to do all that…all I need is a sandwich and place to sit down…and then we can spend time together.

Now granted…we don’t know just what happens…because the story cuts off here and Luke takes the narrative in a different direction…but I’d like to think that once Jesus finally gets Martha’s attention…that she stops…and she takes off her apron…and she puts down her broom…and she pulls up a chair beside her sister…content simply to spend time with the one who is willing to call her by name…just as he is willing to call each of us by name.

May we remember to slow down…and to stop trying to do everything…when only one thing is needed…you have been empowered by the Holy Spirit with gifts for the kingdom…and that is wonderful…and yes we are called to use them…but sometimes simply doing that one thing is enough…so that we still have time to listen the voice of the one who calls our name…and we can simply be content to ask the Lord “So what do you want to do?” and maybe in that instance, the Lord will simply reply “I dunno…what do you want to do?” (take a drink of coffee) Maybe we should just do this for awhile.   Amen.